While the route to auction can occasionally be a consequence of legal action, some owners view the bidding format as an exciting alternative to the traditional means of buying and selling a boat. As the sale of Alfa Nero concludes in Antigua, we look back on ten of the largest yachts sold at auction to date...
H (née Indian Empress) | 95m
The 95-metre Oceanco superyacht Indian Empress was put up for auction after being seized in Malta following claims that its crew was owed more than $1 million in unpaid wages. A court-ordered auction took place in June 2018 with bidding rumoured to have opened at €25 million. When the winner failed to pay their €43.5 million bid in time, the judge presiding over the case gave approval for the private sale of the vessel to Sea Beauty Yachting Limited just days before the second auction was set to take place. The yacht was sold for €35 million and was renamed NEOM. She offers accommodation for up to 12 guests and 30 crewmembers in a 3,176GT interior. Today, she goes by the name H and has been entirely rebuilt with a 10-metre extension.
Tranquility (née Equanimity) | 91.5m
Delivered as Equanimity in 2014, the 91.5-metre Oceanco vessel is the second-largest yacht sold at auction to date. The yacht was seized by Indonesian authorities at the request of the US Department of Justice in 2018 and the auction of Equanimity, which took place in October 2018, was managed by Burgess, appointed by the High Court of Malaya to assist with the sale. The winning bid was made by Genting Malaysia Bhd at $126 million and the yacht was renamed Tranquility.
Alfa Nero | 81m
Oceanco's Alfa Nero is one of the latest superyachts to be sold at auction after she was abandoned in Antigua. The 81.3-metre had been moored at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina since February 2022 and was blocked from leaving the port subject to an official search to determine whether the ultimate beneficiary owner had been named on international sanctions lists following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. After no claim to ownership was made, the government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that she would be sold to the highest bidder. A winning bid of $67,000,677 was made in June 2023 by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Sea Ranger (née Lone Ranger) | 77.7m
Lone Ranger, an oceangoing tug turned luxury explorer, was sold at a live auction held during the Antibes Yacht Show in 2013. The Prestige Yacht Auction was the first of its kind and was heralded as a new way to buy and sell a yacht. The 77.75 metre Lone Ranger found a new owner at the auction and the buyer was represented by Burgess. While the final bid remains undisclosed, the yacht was listed at £20,000,000 prior to the auction and was sold at her reserve price. Lone Ranger has a 31,000-mile range at 12 knots and has circumnavigated the world several times. She has since been renamed Sea Ranger.
Titania (née Apoise) | 73m
The 67-metre Lürssen Apoise was put up for auction in 2010 after four years spent cruising around the world. Her owner, Dave Ritchie, co-founded the auction house Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, and so it was only natural that the boat should be sold at auction. The public auction was held at the Ritz-Carlton Caymans in March 2010. Bidding started at €20 million without a reserve and the yacht soon sold for 33.75 million - roughly half the boat’s estimated value - to British businessman John Caudwell. She was refitted, lengthened, renamed Titania.
Axioma (née Red Square) | 72.5m
The 72.5-metre superyacht Axioma was sold at auction in August 2022. She went under the hammer after she was arrested after her former owner was found to be in breach of a loan agreement with JP Morgan Bank. She was sold for just over $37.5 million by the Admiralty Court of Gibraltar in a private auction with Howe Robinson handling the sale. A total of 63 bids were considered after a license granted by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control authorised US-based buyers to participate in the sale. The winning bid was selected following an enhanced due diligence process. Axioma was built in 2013 by Dunya Yachts and offers accommodation for up to 12 guests with interiors by the late Alberto Pinto.
Illusion (née Galactica Star) | 65m
Galactica Star was listed for auction in 2019 after a U.S. federal court ordered the sale of the 65-metre Heesen at the joint request of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Nigerian government following an international corruption investigation. The yacht was sold following a sealed auction with a minimum reserve price set at $42,000,000. Onboard highlights include accommodation for 12 guests and a 77-square-metre beach club with a glass-bottomed swimming pool above. Galactica Star was the largest yacht to be delivered by the Dutch shipyard at the time. She now goes by the name Illusion.
Force Blue | 63m
The 63-metre Royal Denship superyacht Force Blue was put up for auction at the beginning of 2021. With the opening price set at €7,000,000, the yacht was sold at auction on January 27 after four bids were placed. Force Blue can sleep a total of 12 guests and features a spa, gym, cinema and disco among its many amenities. She underwent a transformative seven-month refit, including a seven-metre extension of the swim platform and an interior overhaul, and is now available for charter with Fraser.
Bacarella | 60m
In 2014, the 60-metre Trinity motor yacht Bacarella was auctioned by the Supreme Court, Gibraltar with ICAP Shipping acting as the broker and overseeing the sale. The auction saw 19 serious bidders and the winning offer was in excess of $30 million. The helicopter-capable vessel is powered by twin 2,012hp Caterpillar engines delivering a range of 4,500 nautical miles.
Triton | 49.7m
In another court-ordered auction, this time by the United States Marshal, the 49.7-metre Triton found a new owner in 2013, selling for $11 million. At the time of her launch in 2004, Triton was the largest composite yacht built in the United States. Still cruising under the same name, her aft deck accommodates a Eurocopter EC130B4 while her superstructure features a distinctive crow's nest accessible via an elevator.